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Brazil pledges…

…to help save seabirds

Brazil has become the most recent country to formally ratify a major global seabird treaty. Endorsement of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) means Brazil will take measures to reduce seabird bycatch within their waters. This will strengthen conservation action being undertaken around the world to save the 300,000 seabirds - including 100,000 albatrosses – killed in longline fisheries each year.

All eight species of Albatross found in Brazilian waters are classified as Globally Threatened. “Species such as the Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena are disapearing fast because of incidental mortality in longline fisheries”, said Dr Euan Dunn, Head of Marine Policy RSPB (BirdLife in the UK). “Brazil joining ACAP throws a life-line to Globally Threatened seabirds”.Longlining kills significant numbers of seabirds each year. They are caught as the baited lines are set behind the fishing vessels and scavenging birds seize the bait, get hooked and drown as the line sinks. This is known as by-catch. “Simple measures such as setting lines at night, deploying bird-scaring streamers and weighting lines so that the baited hooks sink more quickly, really reduces by-catch”, commented Dr Dunn.

The agreement requires signatory states to improve the conservation status of albatrosses and petrels. These measures include research and monitoring, reduction of incidental mortality in fisheries, eradication of non-native species at breeding sites, reduction of disturbance and habitat loss, and reduction of pollution.

BirdLife’s Albatross Task Force (ATF) is the world’s first international team of mitigation instructors working with fishermen and government agencies in global bycatch ‘hotspots’, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Namibia, South Africa and Uruguay. ATF instructors routinely show that the adoption of mitigation measures are both operationally and economically effective. To support the work of the ATF

4th July 2014